Heartbreak in the Valleys

An emotional, romantic WW1 saga of courage and hope

    • 4.5 • 2 Ratings
    • £1.99
    • £1.99

Publisher Description

Shortlisted for The Romantic Novelists' Association Historical Romantic Novel Award 2021

The world was crumbling, but her love stayed strong

November 1915. For young housemaid, Anwen Rhys, life is hard in the Welsh mining village of Dorcalon, deep in the Rhymney Valley. She cares for her ill mother and beloved younger sister Sara, all while shielding them from her father’s drunken, violent temper. Anwen comforts herself with her love for childhood sweetheart, Idris Hughes, away fighting in the Great War.

Yet when Idris returns, he is a changed man; no longer the innocent boy she loved, he is harder, more distant, quickly breaking off their engagement. And when tragedy once again strikes her family, Anwen’s heart is completely broken.

But when an explosion at the pit brings unimaginable heartache to Dorcalon, Anwen and Idris put their feelings aside to unite their mining community.

In the midst of despair, can Anwen find hope again? And will she ever find the happiness she deserves?

A beautiful, emotional and heart-breaking saga set in the Welsh Valleys of the Great War that fans of Rosie Goodwin and Sheila Newbury will love.

Readers are falling in love with Francesca Capaldi's debut novel:

‘this is a really emotional book…I really enjoyed this book and fully recommend it. Worth all the stars’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review

worthy of a 5 star rating… a good book that commands your attention and emotions.’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review

'A lovely debut saga!... Great story line and wonderful period details.’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review

‘I loved this book… I would heartily recommend it for anyone who enjoys family saga or historical fiction.’ Reader Review

‘an all-engrossing story that swept me along with it. It is a wonderful historical saga… With a hint of romance… It had me go through an array of emotions’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review

‘this is such a warm-hearted book… I would ask all readers to read this book. I loved it’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review

Fiction & Literature
10 June

Customer Reviews

Swindonmum ,

Good historical fiction

I’m thrilled to share my review for one of my favourite time slip historical fiction books. Thank you to Simon and Schuster UK for a stunning paperback copy – my thoughts are my own and are not influenced by the gift. A Map of the Damage was published in paperback in April 2020.


London, 1941. Livy makes her way through Blitz-torn London to the Mirrormakers’ Club, the only place that makes her feels safe, where she finds herself drawn into the mystery of a missing diamond, and torn between two men with competing claims on her.

London, 1841. Charlotte is helped from the scene of an accident by a man who shows her a building he is working on, and whose kindness unlocks a hope she has long kept buried. But that man is not her husband.

Two women, a century apart, united by one place: the Mirrormakers’ Club. A building which holds echoes of past loves and hates, and hides the darkest of secrets in its foundations.

My thoughts:

This is the first book written by Sophia Tobin that I have read. I loved studying history in school and enjoy reading historical fiction. I believe that Sophia Tobin has captured the feel of the Blitz in this book – how lives were changed in a split second during the bombings and how people fought to save historical buildings, often putting their own lives at risk to do so. Livy has lost her memory after a near death experience and finds herself helping at the Mirrormakers’ Club where she once worked.

A century earlier, Charlotte, in Victorian England, is helped at the scene of an accident by the architect of the Mirrormakers’ Club. This chance encounter leads to a set of events which will change the course of history for both Charlotte and Livy.

This book had me hooked very quickly, I genuinely didn’t want to put it down. So many mysteries to be uncovered, so many secrets had been kept and there is one building full of clues to both stories. I loved the storytelling and historical details – this is so beautifully written that it was easy to feel that you were actually on the roof of the Club in the middle of an air raid or being waited on in the salon de printemps at Redlands.

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